Despite a furious third period comeback, the Hurricanes will enter game 2 of their first-round series with a one-game deficit. If you missed it, you can find my game recap and player notes HERE.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks forward to game 2 of the series seeking room for improvement and a path to a win.
General assessment coming out of Thursday’s loss
In total, I do not think the Hurricanes game on Thursday was as bad as it felt after two periods. The Hurricanes held their own at even strength and probably even had the upper hand. The issue for the Hurricanes sometimes is twofold. First, the Canes are at a disadvantage in terms of finishing ability. That can mean that winning the territorial and possession battles do not always yield results. The greatest way to boost that disadvantage is to get bodies to the front of the net to score more ugly goals. But in total, I do not see Thursday’s effort is one that needs to be completely discarded.
Stay out of the box
The single biggest adjustment for game 2 is simply to stay out of the penalty box. The Capitals scored on their first two power play chances and looked dangerous all night with the man advantage. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, failed to score twice with the man advantage late in the game and needing a goal tie the game. In total, the Capitals were 2 out of 4 with a power play, and the Hurricanes were 0 out of 3.
Fight for ugly goals
Until Svechnikov dinged him twice, Braden Holtby was playing well and looking it could be impossible to beat him on a shot he saw. The Hurricanes did intermittently get traffic to the front of the net, but there is room for improvement there. The Capitals are an opponent where getting bogged down i shot totals can be irrelevant. With Holtby in net, the Capitals approach is more to minimize the quality of chances rather than volume of shots. So the challenge for the Hurricanes is to flood the front of the net and then try to get the puck in there.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you see other areas for improvement based on on the first game?
2) What other areas of improvement do you see for the Hurricanes going from game 1 to game 2?